Beginners Cake Stress?

Decorating By smokeysmokerton Updated 8 Apr 2012 , 1:22pm by Vexys

smokeysmokerton Posted 8 Apr 2012 , 12:58am
post #1 of 9

I'm fairly new to cake decorating(been doing off and on for a few years with little time to practice working full time) and I love it, but I find myself getting completely overwhelmed even when I'm just baking for fun. I'll do birthday cakes for family members and after each one I swear off decorating indefinitely because I get so stressed out about it. I know that I can be overly ambitious for my skill level, and I'm so damn anal about every detail that I make myself nuts(which is hell when you just aren't that skilled) I've never taken a class and have learned most of what I know from you guys(thank you!) I still have a long way to go but I feel like the potential is there, it's just that the stress is taking all of the fun out of it. I can't get through a batch of simple cupcakes without having a nervous breakdown icon_rolleyes.gif

Did anyone else go through this in the beginning? How did you deal with it?

8 replies
JSKConfections Posted 8 Apr 2012 , 1:40am
post #2 of 9

Are you kidding me? I've been making cakes for about 34 years...years and years just for my own parties and family events...but I still get sooooo nervous that someone won't like it, or maybe it will be dry, or I imagine all kinds of horrors...but its never happened yet! It's totally normal I think! icon_smile.gif

traci_doodle Posted 8 Apr 2012 , 2:35am
post #3 of 9

hahaha I totally know what you mean! I do that too. I tend to go over my head and stress over how it will turn out. But keep in mind, you are your own worst critic! Even though cakecentral has a wealth of knowledge and is a great resource, it can also be discouraging to view everyone else's flawless cakes and feel like you will never get there.

There have been a few times when I felt like my cakes were a failure because I couldn't perform as well as I wanted. So after those cakes, the next ones I made, I told myself to "go back to basics" and try to do a simpler design that I knew I could do. And each time I did that, I'd see how well it came together and realize that I actually had been improving, which was encouraging. And like I said before, you are your own worst critic! I'm sure everyone loves your cakes and no one expects more from them than you. So even going back and doing a "simpler" design, people will still be wowed! And with each cake, the little details will improve and you will be happier (or at least less frustrated, haha) with each cake. Good luck!

Goreti Posted 8 Apr 2012 , 3:05am
post #4 of 9

Although I don't get stressed out about the baking, I am never totally happy with the decorating results. I see all the flaws. I just finished an Easter Cake for the family and I'm so disgusted. I am not good at piping so I figured this would be a good time to practice. After all if I don't practice, I will never get better. Well, it looks like it was done by a 2 yr old. Hate it hate it hate it. Why is it that I can make gumpaste flowers (some without cutters) and can pipe a decent border? Ready to give up. By the way, I took a look at your cakes and they are wonderful.

isillyme Posted 8 Apr 2012 , 3:31am
post #5 of 9

I know exactly how you feel. I took a basic cake decorating class at Michaels, (last class last week) and I feel I don't know enough. I made 2 cakes today, and I gave one to a friend, turns out the cake came out great, and they enjoyed it. My sheetcake was a very first time for me but I liked how it came out. Hey I am just beginning. Practice makes perfect or so they say. I too got so stressed out this morning, making the cake for a friend's birthday, I decided for the Easter cake to relax, and it turned out to be fun. Go Figure!

Apti Posted 8 Apr 2012 , 4:50am
post #6 of 9
Originally Posted by smokeysmokerton

I'm fairly new to cake decorating(been doing off and on for a few years with little time to practice working full time):

That's your answer right there. You cannot make it easier and improve without practice.

Would you try and change a flat tire on the freeway with cars zooming by at 75 MPH with no stress if you'd never changed a tire before? Would you try and balance the ledgers of a $2 Million corporation if you'd never done anything but reconcile your own checkbook? Bet you'd be stressed.....

All of us have a picture in our minds of the "perfect cake" we will produce when we start, however, there are a LOT of glitches and you have to learn to roll with the punches and change midstream. All of us see OUR mistakes (because it doesn't match the "perfect cake" in our minds), but those who receive these same cakes think they are wonderful.

Lighten up. Have more fun. MAKE TIME TO PRACTICE!!!!!

EvMarie Posted 8 Apr 2012 , 5:44am
post #7 of 9

Practice does really help. I found that I got too ambitious with design & expected too much too quick. Especially since the bulk of my orders are specialty cookies. Also, if you look at my cake pics I've tried something new every time. How am I to get better at anything if I'm trying EVERYTHING.

So - I slowed it down. I'm just now happy with my blank canvas. I'm still narrowing down my buttercream techniques. Only tried fondant a few times & don't plan to "go there" until I've mastered BC. My goal is american as well as swiss meringue types. I may work a bit more on ganache as well.

Once I can do these basics perfectly...or at least comfortably...I will then work on what will become MY STYLE for decorating.

There are so many steps in between start & finish with cake decorating. Just take a few things at a time. And, once you get to decorating....again, one thing at a time. If I had a need to bake a lot of kids cakes. Maybe I'd start with buttercream transfers or fun color combos and cut out fondant decorations. Got a love for wedding cakes? See what's neat to you and try to duplicate.

I think there are soooo many options, it gets overwhelming. Like I said. I'm just now happy with my baking, assembly, and smoothing skills. Now, I'm perfecting variations of frosting. I don't get many chances so it's taking me a while. THEN....I'll think about what I want my cakes to look like.

Oh piping is nuts too. "little-kid-ville" for sure....icon_smile.gif

smokeysmokerton Posted 8 Apr 2012 , 12:08pm
post #8 of 9
Originally Posted by traci_doodle

So after those cakes, the next ones I made, I told myself to "go back to basics" and try to do a simpler design that I knew I could do. And each time I did that, I'd see how well it came together and realize that I actually had been improving, which was encouraging.

I think you're right. At this point I can do everything but have mastered nothing and I think that's where the frustration is coming from.

I forgot to mention in my crazy cake rant that the reason I've picked it up again is because I recently quit my full time job for a part time one so I could be home more. I've never had the kind of time I have now to work on it, so I think this would be the perfect time to maybe start over, try to learn things in order instead of trying to do everything at once. I may have to take a break from Cake Central though because you guys make things look too easy. icon_biggrin.gif

Thanks everyone for the awesome advice. So glad to hear I'm not the only one who's felt this way.

Vexys Posted 8 Apr 2012 , 1:22pm
post #9 of 9

I'd say pick something you want to work on and find excuses to bake now that you're part time. Evaluate yourself with what you do or have done or would like to try. I never really did a lot with buttercream (i.e. flowers) and my decorative piping is rusty so I'm going to start there vs working on where I know I'm more steady like with fondant.

It can get intimidating to sit back and look at some of the work here but everyone was a beginner once. Makes me wish there was an early cakes gallery so everyone's beginning mistakes and less than perfect ones were there.

Quote by @%username% on %date%